Tuesday, November 16, 2010

GeoHay Recycled Carpet Helps Preserve Darter Fish

GeoHay Recycled Carpet Helps Preserve Darter Fish

Recycled Carpet Helps Preserve Endangered Species ~ GeoHay erosion-control products come to the aid of rare darter fish

At CRI, we often speak and write about the advantages of carpet. Here’s a new one - cows won’t eat it. It’s true. I saw that theory put to the test this past week at the Petty Farm just outside of Dalton, GA, while involved in a project to help preserve the rare darter fish... using recycled carpet! 

To give you the details: in the fall of 2010, a diverse group of participants which included the Tennessee Aquarium Conservation Institute,  the Carpet America Recovery Effort (CARE),  the Conasauga River Alliance,  the Georgia Department of Natural Resources and a company called GeoHay came together to restore a unique aquatic environment to its natural state. The project took place at Colvard Springs, which is located not too far from the Carpet and Rug Institute headquarters and just outside Dalton, Georgia. This beautiful setting is home to a rather unique fish, the Cold Water Darter. There are only 22 known habitats for this rare species and all are located in the tri-state area of Georgia, Alabama, and Tennessee.

The rare cold water darter fish
The objective of the restoration was to improve the habitat for the darters by pumping mud and silt from the bottom of the spring’s pool. Approximately 40 years ago, the area around the spring was harvested for timber. The erosion that followed the clear-cutting continued for many years, until the forest surrounding the spring regenerated. Josh Smith, Executive Director of the Conasauga River Alliance, says the new trees’ root systems should provide the soils that border the spring enough stability to keep the spring healthy and free of excessive silt from now on.

Essential to the project was GeoHay’s donation of multiple GeoHay silt-filtering devices. According to GeoHay President Tim Stillwell, GeoHay is an erosion-control barrier made entirely from recycled carpet fibers. GeoHay uses about a million pounds of old carpet each year to manufacture GeoHay – and that’s a million pounds that aren’t on their way to landfills!

Extensive testing has shown that GeoHay is far superior to hay or other natural erosion barriers. Besides its landfill-diversion benefits, GeoHay is reusable, long-lasting, and won’t carry seeds from non-native plant species from one natural environment to another.

GeoHay filters water

Silt and water from the spring were pumped through a culvert from the Badger Farm to an open pasture on the Petty Farm. To keep the silt from simply running back down to the creek and then to the Conasauga River, GeoHay was used to filter the water before it returned to the watershed.

At a public event held at Colvard Springs to discuss the conservation project, Georgia State Senator-elect Charlie Bethel (R-Dalton) said, “These are the sorts of technologies we’re all going to have to be more comfortable with. Water quality is important to all of us, whether we’re a darter or we drink from a municipal or private well.”

Carpet Benefit: cow-proof!

At one point during the ceremonies, a young Angus heifer approached the bale of GeoHay, no doubt thinking she was in for a tasty treat. A tentative sniff and lick were enough to convince her that this bale was not for lunch! Yet another example of the benefits of carpet…

Here's a link to the Chattanooga Times Free Press article titled Darter housecleaning gets help from carpet recycler.



Jocelyn said...

What a wonderful idea. I don't know anything like that being done here in Maryland. I'll keep that in mind and see how my company can help in carpet recycling.

Bethany said...

Hello Jocelyn,
Thanks for your comment! I don't know about your company, but the Maryland DOT could start specifying GeoHay for all of its erosion-control needs along state highways during construction, etc.

Jesse said...

Great, positive story about carpet. I look forward to finding many more on CRI's site. Am I allowed to re-post such blogs on my site to inform my existing and potential clients of the benefits of having carpet?

Bethany said...

Hi Jesse,
You may indeed repost this article - with my thanks! Glad you liked it - thanks for your comment. Bethany

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